A Wonderful Wine Weekend In Wailea

Winemakers (from left) Webster Marquez, Donald Patz, Steve Clifton and Gary Burk. Photo from Roberto Viernes

There are three words that always excite me in terms of places to stay in world and travel: Four Seasons Resorts. The name is synonymous with luxury accommodations, pampering, exotic locations and sumptuous dining. They go out of their way to make sure guests are well taken care of. So you can understand my excitement when I was included in a weekend of wine called “Four Pinots at Four Seasons” at the Four Seasons Resort at Wailea two weekends ago.

The hotel was featuring four of California’s top wine producers: Patz & Hall Winery represented by Donald Patz, Webster Marquez from Anthill Farms, Steve Clifton of Brewer-Clifton and Gary Burk from Costa d’Oro Winery. Each of the winemakers was featured at wine dinners on and around the property: Spago, Duo, Ferraro’s, and Capische, just up the hill from the resort. I could only be at one place at a time, but I was able to attend two dinners with Anthill Farms at Ferraro’s, which was terrific, and equally good if not more extravagant was the dinner with Patz & Hall at Duo the following evening.

But I must say that my favorite event by far was the Pinot Noir Celebration, which featured Pinot Noirs from all over California, 32 to be exact. Let me qualify this by saying that the large galas are typically my least favorite gatherings during wine events like this because they allow for very little time to actually talk to wine-makers. They are usually too busy pouring their wines or chatting with the other dozen people in front of their tables to spend any significant time with you. On top of that, there is literally too much wine to actually get around to taste, and sometimes some wines get lost in the mix, and some run out before you can even get your taste.

But the Pinot Noir Celebration at Four Seasons was exceptional. It was held on the oceanfront lawn where the view and weather couldn’t be any better. The list of wines is a who’s who of Pinotphiliacs. Along with the four featured winemakers were Hirsch, Landmark, Papapietro Perry, Paul Lato, Tyler, Knez, Evening Land, Loring, Drew Family, Peay … the list goes on. The food stations were top notch, each one with a theme, and not only with a dedicated Four Seasons chef manning the booth, but the actual farmer, fisherman or grower also was at the table to represent their products. And they were all local products, from Surfing Goat Cheeses used in a dozen different ways to the locally grown Berkshire Pig from Malama Farm that was roasted on a spit for nine hours.

Attendance was limited to just a few hundred, and it was busy but never overcrowded. Seats and tables were available for everyone to sit, meet new friends then set off in search for another awesome Pinot Noir. And the guitar duo made the mood oh so smooth and silky – just like great Pinot Noir. And did I mention the Riedel glassware?

My favorite Pinot Noirs of the night included the 2010 Anthill Farms Tina Marie, which had stunning flavors done so elegantly – truly sexy stuff here. The 2009 Hirsch San Andreas Cuvee was as complete a Pinot Noir as I’ve tasted from the estate. And the 2009 Solomon Hills Bien Nacido Vineyard was rocking good, really gorgeous fruit and spicy sandalwood to boot.

This was an awesome inaugural event. You really will not want to miss it next year. And if you attend, you will definitely see me there.